Statements

Call to actions towards lasting peace

Women4Yemen Network’s Paper on the Status of Women’s Rights in Yemen During a Side Event in Human Rights Council

Women4Yemen Network’s Paper on the Status of Women’s Rights in Yemen During a Side Event in Human Rights Council

Women4Yemen Network’s Paper on the Status of Women’s Rights in Yemen During a Side Event in Human Rights Council

 

Women4Yemen, Yemen

04.07.2019

 

Ladies and Gentlemen


I represent today Women4Yemen Network where we believe Yemeni women need a strong movement similar to #MeToo to break the silence and support women working for peace.

The major prevailing threats are currently:

1. Illegal detainment of women and false prostitution charges:


The Women’s Solidarity Network reported that the Houthi group routinely accuse women of prostitution and have detained 100 women, including juveniles, and were subsequently tortured and sexually assaulted. Women4Yemen Network confirmed 20 cases but social stigma against women prisoners makes it difficult to reach the remaining.


2. Torture in prison and denial of a fair trial:

Women detained know that they will neither receive proper treatment, nor a fair trial, worsened by social stigma, and media blackout. The only woman who spoke out against this was Asma Al-Omeisi, a woman on a death row, which Women4Yemen Network, provided legal aid. She was tortured, deprived from legal rights, and fair trail. This is reflected on the case of Al-Omeisi, a woman on a death row, to whom our network provided legal aid. During her most recent hearing, she was ill and fainted in the court room.


3. Restriction on women-led efforts for peace:

Houthi militias forced women-led organizations to delete the word peace from their interventions threatening them to shut down their organizations, and, if they failed to do so, to detain their leaders as they did to peace activist Awfaa Al-Naami.

4. Restricted mobility:

Women are required to be escorted by men when they travel, which is demanded by both conflict parties. At check points, they face humiliation, sexual harassment and immoral searches and sometimes even get murdered.

5. Denial of assembly rights:

Women peaceful protesters who call for releasing their relatives, or improving the economic situation face detention and oppression by the Houthi group and security forces and armed groups affiliated with the Saudi and UAE coalition.

6. Engendering violence:

Houthis designed a security agency and using women “thugs” called "Zainaibiyat," to attack and detain women protestors or opponents.

7. Character assassination and widespread defamation campaigns:

The illegal detainment is usually accompanied by a massive defamation campaign by the Houthis which uses their media to attack women activists either by attacking their honor, by labeling them as spies, or making videos of forced confession statements of women detainees to blackmail them and their families. In Yemen, those women are disowned by their families and some of them attempt suicide.

Challenges:


1. Crushed civil space, and information and media blackout.
2. Social stigma surrounding women’s detainment where women are disowned by their families and lose the social respect of the society, even if the allegations are false.

Consequences:


1. This will silence women and all Houthi opponents from advancing the peace process and promoting democratic values.
2. Deterioration of gender equality as many women will be discouraged to enroll in political and peace efforts.
3. Sustainable peace will not be achieved as long as women peace activists and women-led organizations are highly restricted.
4. Not only women activists will be affected, these violations create a state of terror for all citizens that will affect the civil movement in Yemen.
5. The hardly fought rights of women will be reversed if these violations continue.

Recommendations:


-UN Human Rights Council should make Yemeni women's rights a priority to break the state of terror and work to provide protection and justice to women activists, especially those working for peace.
-Houthi group should enable human rights organizations and human rights observers to meet the women prisoners and stop the defamation campaigns.
- Inclusion of women in all phases of peace talks.
-Strong promotion, support and protection of women’s rights and women-led grassroot organizations from all parties and entities including the right to organize and participate in all decision making.
- Fair trials for women and a justice and prison system free from gender-based violence.
- Ban of all forms of violations of women's human rights, violence against women and harassment in the juridical system in Yemen.
- Free movement of women in the public space.

The below advisors and references have been consulted in the writing of this paper:


1. Eshraq Al-Maqtari : A lawyer and a member of the High Commissioner to the National Commission of Inquiry
2. Huda Al-Sarari: An award winning Human Rights Defender, head of Defense Foundation for Human Rights
3. Afrah Al-Zobah: A political activist and former member of the National Dialogue Conference
4. Amat al-Salam al-Haj: Head of The Associations of the Detainees’ Mothers

References:


1. al-Aghbari, S. (2018, 11 22). تجسس واقتحام المنازل وفض الاحتجاجات.. قوات «الباسيج» الحوثية أياد ناعمة في مهمات قذرة [Spying, house raining, dispersing protests...the Houthi "Basij" is soft hands carrying dirty missions]. Retrieved from Almasdar online news website: http://almasdaronline.com/articles/161282

2. al-Dhabyani, M. (2017). السلالي مدير إذاعة سام الحوثية يدعو لقتل أنصار المؤتمر الشعبي رجال ونساء ويصفهم بالكفار [Racialist head of the Houth- radio calls for killing GPC's followers; men and women and call them disbelievers. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yObBNAb3KBc

3. Amnesty. (2018). Yemen: Huthi court sentences three to death after enforced disappearance and alleged torture. Amnesty .

4. Jarhum, R. (2017). لم يعد استبعاد النساء من المشاركة في عمليات السالم خياراً [Exclusion of women from peace talks is no longer an option]. مشاركة النساء في السلم، الأمن والعمليات االنتقالية [Women participation in peace, security, and transitional processes] مؤسسة فريدريش إيبرت ومساواة.

5. SAM Organization for Human Rights. (2019). ماذا بقي لنا؟[What has been left for us?].

6. The High Commissioner to the National Commission of Inquiry. (2019). Report of the work and results of the hearing sessions of women victims of human rights violation during the armed conflict. The High Commissioner to the National Commission of Inquiry.

7. Women Solidarity Network. (2019). بيان إدانة لما تتعرض له النساء والفتيات من اعتقالات تعسفية في المناطق الخاضعة لسيطرة جماعة الحوثي [Condemndation letter to what women and girls are subjected in the Houthi-controlled areas]. Women Solidarity Network.

8. Women4Yemen Network . (2018). Arbitrary arrest and detention of Yemeni Women jeopardizes gender equality and peace; threatens Stockholm Agreement. Women4Yemen Network .

9. Women4Yemen Network. (2019). WFP decision to halt aid is an indicator of a larger problem of crushed civil space, affecting the lives of millions of Yemenis and threatening opportunities for sustainable peace . Women4Yemen Network.

Women4Yemen Network
July 4th, 2019


Women4Yemen Network is a group of women activists in media, human rights, civil society and academia. We work towards achieving sustainable peace, security and stabilization by empowering, advocating for and mobilizing women in Yemen.
www.women4Yemen.org
Facebook: Women4Yemen
Twitter: @Women4Yemen
YouTube: Women4Yemen
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Statement of Women4Yemen Network on the Status of Women’s Rights in Yemen in Human Rights Council

Statement of Women4Yemen Network on the Status of Women’s Rights in Yemen in Human Rights Council

Statement of Women4Yemen Network on the Status of Women’s Rights in Yemen in Human Rights Council

 

Women4Yemen, Yemen

04.07.2019

 

Mr. Vice President

We are here today to inform you Yemeni women need a strong movement similar to #MeToo to break the silence and support women working for peace.

The major prevailing threats are currently:

1. False prostitution charges designed to scare women activists:

The Women’s Solidarity Network reported that the Houthi group routinely accuse women of prostitution and have detained 100 women, including juveniles, and were subsequently tortured and sexually assaulted.
Women4Yemen Network confirmed 20 cases but social stigma against women prisoners makes it difficult to reach the remaining.

2. Torture in prison and denial of a fair trail:

Women detained know that they will neither receive proper treatment, nor a fair trial, worsened by social stigma, and media blackout.

3. Restriction on women-led efforts for peace:

Houthi groups forced women-led organizations to prohibit the word ‘peace’ and make it difficult to work in peace building interventions, threatening them to shut down their organizations. If they continue, they face retaliation. The detention of peace activist Awfaa Al-Naami is one example.

4. Restricted mobility:

While many women have lost their male relatives or are widows, both conflict parties demand women to be escorted by men to travel. At check points, they face humiliation, sexual harassment and immoral searches and sometimes even get murdered.

5. Engendering violence:

Houthis designed a security agency and using women “thugs” called "Zainaibiyat," to attack and detain women protestors or opponents.

6. Denial of assembly rights by all conflict parties:

Women peaceful protesters and activists who call for releasing their relatives, or improving the economic situation face detention and oppression by the Houthi group and security forces and armed groups affiliated with the Saudi and UAE coalition.

7. Character assassination and widespread defamation campaigns by all conflict parties.

8. Systematic enhancement of negative gender norms and increasing restrictions on women’s activism.

 

Recommendations:

-UN Human Rights Council should make Yemeni women's rights a priority to break the state of terror and work to provide protection and justice to women activists, especially those working for peace.

The below advisors and references have been consulted in the writing of this paper:

1. Eshraq Al-Maqtari : A lawyer and a member of the High Commissioner to the National Commission of Inquiry
2. Huda Al-Sarari: An award-winning human rights defender, Director of Defense Foundation for Human Rights.
3. Afrah Al-Zobah: A political activist and former member of the National Dialogue Conference.
4. Amat al-Salam al-Haj: Head of the Mothers of Abductees Association.

References:

1. al-Aghbari, S. (2018, 11 22). تجسس واقتحام المنازل وفض الاحتجاجات.. قوات «الباسيج» الحوثية أياد ناعمة في مهمات قذرة [Spying, house raining, dispersing protests...the Houthi "Basij" is soft hands carrying dirty missions]. Retrieved from Almasdar online news website: http://almasdaronline.com/articles/161282

2. al-Dhabyani, M. (2017). السلالي مدير إذاعة سام الحوثية يدعو لقتل أنصار المؤتمر الشعبي رجال ونساء ويصفهم بالكفار [Racialist head of the Houth- radio calls for killing GPC's followers; men and women and call them disbelievers. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yObBNAb3KBc

3. Amnesty. (2018). Yemen: Huthi court sentences three to death after enforced disappearance and alleged torture. Amnesty .

4. Jarhum, R. (2017). لم يعد استبعاد النساء من المشاركة في عمليات السالم خياراً [Exclusion of women from peace talks is no longer an option]. مشاركة النساء في السلم، الأمن والعمليات االنتقالية [Women participation in peace, security, and transitional processes] (p. 302). مؤسسة فريدريش إيبرت ومساواة.

5. SAM Organization for Human Rights. (2019). ماذا بقي لنا؟[What has been left for us?].

6. The High Commissioner to the National Commission of Inquiry. (2019). Report of the work and results of the hearing sessions of women victims of human rights violation during the armed conflict. The High Commissioner to the National Commission of Inquiry.

7. Women Solidarity Network. (2019). بيان إدانة لما تتعرض له النساء والفتيات من اعتقالات تعسفية في المناطق الخاضعة لسيطرة جماعة الحوثي [Condemndation letter to what women and girls are subjected in the Houthi-controlled areas]. Women Solidarity Network.

8. Women4Yemen Network . (2018). Arbitrary arrest and detention of Yemeni Women jeopardizes gender equality and peace; threatens Stockholm Agreement. Women4Yemen Network.

9. Women4Yemen Network. (2019). WFP decision to halt aid is an indicator of a larger problem of crushed civil space, affecting the lives of millions of Yemenis and threatening opportunities for sustainable peace . Women4Yemen Network.


Women4Yemen Network
July 4th, 2019

Women4Yemen Network is a group of women activists in media, human rights, civil society and academia. We work towards achieving sustainable peace, security and stabilization by empowering, advocating for and mobilizing women in Yemen.
www.women4Yemen.org
Facebook: Women4Yemen
Twitter: @Women4Yemen
YouTube: Women4Yemen
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

WFP decision to halt aid is an indicator of a larger problem of crushed civil space, affecting the lives of millions of Yemenis and threatening opportunities for sustainable peace

WFP decision to halt aid is an indicator of a larger problem of crushed civil space, affecting the lives of millions of Yemenis and threatening opportunities for sustainable peace

WFP decision to halt aid is an indicator of a larger problem of crushed civil space, affecting the lives of millions of Yemenis and threatening opportunities for sustainable peace

 

Women4Yemen, Yemen

25.05.2019

 

Herve Verhoosel, the senior spokesperson of the World Food Programme (WFP), announced the suspension of aid on the back of repeated interference of some Houthi leaders in their work. “Our greatest challenge does not come from the guns” but instead from “the obstructive and uncooperative role of some of the Houthi leaders in areas under their control,” he said in the statement issued on May 20th.

Women4Yemen Network believe that this statement is an indicator of a larger and more serious problem that needs immediate attention from the UN Envoy’s Office and the international community. The widespread corruption in aid and development projects is enabled by the extensive and systematic crackdown on civil society by the de facto Houthi authorities in Sanaa. This has resulted in the absence of accountability and monitoring.

The diversion of aid is one of many outcomes of the tight grip of the Houthi authorities in the north. Since they took control of the capital of Sanaa in 2014, Houthis have shut down local civil society organizations, created new ones that are loyal to them and implement their agenda, abducted and forcibly disappeared civil society activists, and even intimidated INGO staff. According to local sources, some of the challenges the civil society organizations are facing are:

  1. Difficulty to issue or renew licenses to operate. Some organizations are forced to pay bribes in order to get a license or to look for people in connection with the Houthi group in order to get the license issued.
  2. Difficulty to work in peace building or protection projects. In fact, Houthis forbid the use of the word “peace” in any civil society documents or events.
  3. Freezing of the bank accounts of some civil society organizations.
  4. Shutting down of some of civil society organizations.
  5. Houthis successfully pressure some international organizations to work with Houthi-loyal organizations.
  6. Activists, including women, in peace and humanitarian fields are subjected to arrest and retaliation. Read our report: https://bit.ly/2Wb1hu6 and the Women Solidarity Network report on: #FreeAwfaa campaign https://info861663.wixsite.com/freeawfaa
  7. According to the Washington Post, aid agencies and NGOs have been ordered to hire Houthi representatives and loyalists as part of their local teams.

Women4Yemen Network consider the WFP’s threat to withdraw support to the areas under Houthi control a response that is too little too late. It will also not solve the problem. UN agencies and INGOs need to address the larger problem which is the crackdown on civil space, as that will leave long term negative effects on Yemenis, beyond lack of access to humanitarian assistance. It is undermining the grassroots peace activism essential to support peace processes.

To address this problem, we recommend the following:

  1. The international community should protect and empower the civil society and include it as one of the items of the peace negotiations.
  2. The Houthi group should lift all the restrictions on the civil society organizations.
  3. The Houthi group should provide a license to all organizations, including women-based organizations, with no biases.
  4. The international community should support the UN to resume its work in Yemen as the situation in the country cannot afford to lose support. According to UN agencies, the country is on the verge of a famine. The international community should put pressure on the Houthi group to stop interference in food aid in particular, and in civil society in general.
  5. The international community should work to support the protection of women in light of UN resolution 1325 and professionals working in aid and civil society.
  6. The UN should consider reallocating its headquarters away from the Houthi-controlled capital of Sana’a. This will improve partnership with civil society organizations and allow for accountability and monitoring needed for aid effectiveness.
  7. The UN can harness up-to-date technical measures to provide assistance which can ensure more accountability and monitoring. The aid also should focus more on economic growth, more than relief support. Read our blog: https://bit.ly/2HLGHaZ

Women4Yemen Network

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

www.women4yemen.org

Facebook: @Women4Yemen Network

Twitter: @Women4Yemen

Recommendations on women’s inclusion in the Yemeni peace process and beyond

Recommendations on women’s inclusion in the Yemeni peace process and beyond

Recommendations on women’s inclusion in the Yemeni peace process and beyond

April 11, 2019

Cairo

1) Increasing women’s meaningful participation in the peace process

 To the conflict parties:

  • Commit to continue the peace talks and pressure all involved factions and parties to end the war, expedite the implementation of the Stockholm agreement, lift the siege, and to open crossings and Sana'a Airport.
  • Adhere to the NDC outcomes, including women’ representation in the negotiations, in the transitional period and in broader political decision-making processes.

To Yemeni women’s groups and networks:

  • Coordinate and seek common ground for concrete actions, at both national and international level, for stopping the war and achieving sustainable peace in Yemen.
  • Engage in dialogue with the conflict parties to identify areas of mutual interest and possible resolutions to the conflict.
  • Develop a roadmap to strengthen the various roles women can play to build peace at different levels; and consolidate networks for its implementation.
  • Advocate for 30 percent representation of women in all mediation and peacebuilding efforts, in line with the NDC outcomes.
  • Develop a shared strategy to advance the above, accompanied by an advocacy plan including both traditional and innovative advocacy methods, and by strengthening of alliances and coalitions between women mediators and peacebuilding networks.
  • Establish a coordination committee for women’s peacebuilding networks and organizations, including a working group to develop an advocacy plan.
  • Write joint letters to the UN Special Envoy to encourage 50 percent representation of women in experts’ committees and advisory bodies.
  • Compile a database of women with expertise in political, security and military issues who can provide technical support in peace and stability efforts.
  • Develop a detailed directory of all Yemeni women organizations and companies working in peacemaking, in Yemen home and abroad.

To the UN Special Envoy:

  • Put pressure on the conflict parties to ensure at least 30% women’s representation in their delegations to the negotiations or related consultations; consistent with the NDC outcomes.
  • Ensure 50 percent representation of women in all bodies formed by the UN Special Envoy, such as Advisory Bodies and Technical Committees, and consider creating a third table for women in the peace negotiations.
  • Commit to allocate 15 percent of all peacebuilding funds to support the work of women’s groups and organizations in the peace process.

To the International Community:

  • Put pressure on both sides of the conflict to include women in all committees emanating from the political agreement; including preparatory committees, ceasefire monitoring committees, disarmament committees, committees for the opening of roads and crossings.
  • Support strategies and mechanisms for women to foster political partnerships with key influential decision-makers.
  • Provide financial and technical support for the development and implementation of a training plan to increase the capacity of women in mediation, negotiation and peacebuilding.
  • Put pressure on both parties to the conflict to abide by the NDC outcomes with regard to the women representation of at least 30 percent. (NB: It was suggested that this should include 50 percent of southerners, there was however no consensus on this in the group).
  • Support the development and implementation of a National Action Plan for UNSCR 1325 Women, Peace and Security for Yemen.

2) Strengthening women’s inclusion and ensuring a gender-sensitive peace agreement

To the conflict parties:

  • Abide by all relevant conventions ratified by Yemen, such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), particularly its General Recommendation no. 30 on women in conflict prevention, conflict and postconflict situations; and Goals 5 and 16 of the 2030 Development Agenda.
  • Adhere to the NDC outcomes, the GCC agreement and the UNSCR 2216.
  • Endorse the role of the Women’s Technical Advisory Group and women’s inclusion in the peace process to ensure a more sustainable peace agreement.

To Yemeni women’s groups and networks:

  • Provide suggested language for a gender perspective in the final peace agreement, and advocate for its incorporation.
  • Provide assistance to the Women’s Technical Advisory Group, and to any technical subcommittees established, as needed.
  • Develop joint proposals to the international community, UN and conflict parties on gender-sensitive language and solutions to the conflict, which can be incorporated in the negotiations and eventual peace agreement.

To the UN Special Envoy:

  • Ensure gender mainstreaming of the eventual peace agreement, in accordance with UNSC Resolution 1325; and put pressure on the parties to abide by relevant international conventions.
  • Support the Women’s Technical Advisory Group to become more inclusive and representative, either through expanded or rotational membership. This will also allow the Women’s Technical Advisory Group to become a more effective support mechanism for the Special Envoy. Create technical sub-committees to support the Women’s Technical Advisory Group on issues raised in the negotiations.

To the International Community:

  • Put pressure on the conflict parties to work towards a gender-sensitive peace agreement; and to abide by international commitments including but not limited to CEDAW, UNSCR 1325 and subsequent resolutions.
  • Collaborate with OSESGY to provide further clarity among Yemeni citizens on the role and mandate of the Women’s Technical Advisory Group, and provide support to the Group to carry out its roles and responsibilities.

3) Enhancing women’s contribution to peace and dialogue initiatives at the local level

To Yemeni women’s groups and network:

  • Unite efforts and voices to stop the war. Empower and train women to act as mediators between conflict parties.
  • Set up local-level committees to document the impacts and damages of war and the reconstruction needs; and integrate women in development and reconstruction programs at the local level.
  • Organize dialogues with local communities and step up local conflict resolution efforts.

To the International Community:

  • Channel financial and technical support to the OSESGY and track II partners to strengthen the peace process and empowerment of Yemeni women therein.
  • Support capacity-building of women in conflict resolution and mediation, and empower their role in local mediation efforts.

4) Increasing women’s political participation and access to decision-making positions at all levels

To National Decision-makers:

  • Encourage women’s participation in local councils, and work for the implementation of the NDC outcomes including the 30 percent quota system.
  • Revive and strengthen the role of the Supreme Council for Women and the Women National Committee in all governorates to advance women’s empowerment and safeguarding women’s fundamental human rights, and to support the work of women’s non-governmental initiatives, groups and organizations.
  • Establish a coordination mechanism between the branches of the Women National Committee across governorates.
  • Promote equal rights and enforce compulsory education for women and men.
  • Grant confidence and support women to access decision-making positions.

To Yemeni women’s groups and networks:

  • Engage with, and garner support from, tribal elders, religious clerics and political leaders towards women’s education and inclusion at all levels of government.
  • Work collectively to build appropriate capacities for ensuring women’s equal access to decision-making positions in the state apparatus.
  • Promote local initiatives and organize dialogues between women and political party leaders.
  • Form monitoring groups, comprising representatives of political parties, initiatives, and organizations, to map and monitor the extent to which political parties are committed to women’s representation in their structures.
  • Collaborate with the National Women Commission; and coordinate with the Ministry for the Implementation of the NDC Outcomes to raise awareness of decision-makers on NDC outcomes.

To the UN Special Envoy:

  • In any agreement emanating from the peace process, encourage the 30 percent quota system in political parties to ensure that women’s representation reaches the level set out in national and international commitments.
  • Ensure constant reference to the UNSC Resolution 1325 in all discussions, and put pressure on parties to the conflict and their supporters to implement international resolutions on women's political participation.

To the International Community:

  • Provide financial and technical support to awareness-raising and capacity-building programs to increase women’s ability to contribute constructively through political party structures, including but not limited to leadership skills, political campaigning, speech writing and alike.
  • Encourage decision makers in government and local authorities to apply a quota system of at least 30% for women’s representation.
  • Provide financial and technical support to the reactivation and strengthening of the Supreme Council for Women and the Women’s National Committee, their activities and programs.
  • Support the development of programs that promote women’s education and community awareness on the importance of girls’ education.
Convening of Parliament in Sayuon: A strategic step towards sustainable peace

Convening of Parliament in Sayuon: A strategic step towards sustainable peace

Convening of Parliament in Sayuon: A strategic step towards sustainable peace

April 13, 2019

Women4Yemen Network

The convening of Parliament today in the city of Sayuon is a positive and strategic step towards strengthening the State of Yemen. The conflict in Yemen has been, directly and indirectly, impacted by weak political or non-existent state agencies. The establishment of a governance structure is a necessary precondition to building a sustainable peace. We welcome this move to towards building federalism in Yemen.

It is women who are most harmed by the absence of the state and the violence perpetrated by armed groups. The Women4Yemen Network welcomes the convening of Parliament, outside the central geographical area that Yemen has been accustomed to, as a positive step towards both federalism and decentralization.

We hope that this initial step will lead to the State of Yemen being able to exercise its functions fully and effectively from within Yemen. We call on the international community support this Parliament and to strengthen the Yemeni government's action in accordance with already agreed-to references in The Gulf Initiative, the Yemeni National Dialogue Outcomes, United Nations Security Council Resolution 2216, and other relevant national and international agreements.

Arbitrary arrest and detention of Yemeni Women jeopardizes gender equality and peace; threatens Stockholm Agreement

Arbitrary arrest and detention of Yemeni Women jeopardizes gender equality and peace; threatens Stockholm Agreement

Arbitrary arrest and detention of Yemeni Women jeopardizes gender equality and peace; threatens Stockholm Agreement  

February 5, 2019

Women4Yemen Network

The arbitrary detention and disappearance of Awfa Al Naami by the Ansar Allah Movement (known as Houthi) on January 28 is a disturbing act that will have a negagtive impact on gender equality and peace in Yemen.

Awfa Al Naami, the Acting Country Director of Yemen’s Saferworld International, and her colleague Hassan Al-Qawtari, the director of the organization's programs, were detained at the same time, although Al-Qawtari has since been released. Awfa Al Naami’s whereabouts remain unknown.

According to Women Solidarity Network and other local reports, Awfa Al Naami and Hassan Al-Qawtari were taken to an unknown location after being asked to meet with the Houthi National Security.  It has also been reported that the Houthi broke into the Saferworld's office in Sana'a and confiscated computers and documents.

This is just the most recent incident of targeting of Yemeni women activists as local reports of kidnappings and disappearances of both civilian women and women activists are coming to light even in the midst of a media blackout.

The arrest and abduction of women in Yemen represents a grave threat to Yemeni society as this kind of targeted violence is contrary to social and tribal norms.

According to the Women4Yemen Network the arbitrary detention of women activists further marginalizes Yemeni women and limits their participation in the Yemeni peace process.

Women in Yemen have been working for gender justice and equality in an environment where social and tribal norms give space and voice predominantly to men. With the threat of detention and violence, women now face personal safety concerns.

These arrests are clearly aimed at intimidating women discouraging them from working for peace and gender equality.  And its impact is not only being felt today - with the real safety concerns for women activists - but this is a strategy to weaken future progress towards gender equality and peace in Yemen.

The arrests and detentions, also, negatively affect the recent progress made towards peace last December with the Stockholm agreement. The arrests and detentions contravene hard-won agreements with respect to the treatment of detainees.

Women4Yemen Network calls for:

  • The immediate release of Awfa Al Naami by the Ansar Allah Movement (Houthi) and an end to the arbitrary arrest and detention of women activists.
  • An international commission of inquiry to investigate the violations against women and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
  • International organizations and agencies to ensure the protection of and provide support to local staff working in Yemen.
  • The international community to pressure the Ansar Allah to abide by the Stockholm agreement for detainees and to stop their campaign of arbitrary arrest and detention of women civilians and activists.

Address

Sanaa, Yemen

Talk to us

+905395252140